Android Apps – Must Have, I think?
Ever since I have started comparing the iPhone4 and the HTC Incredible, I have had so many people reach out offering advice, information, and I have even re-connected with old friends and fraternity brothers from Clemson (Lambda Chi Alpha). One in particular (Brian Lindenmeyer who is a long time childhood friend and fraternity brother) has been sending me tons of great information about the Android platform and raving about Verizon’s network. He should be the poster child for Android and Verizon. You can follow him on Twitter: @lxadoz104
Brian has been on the Verizon network for close to 10 years where he began with his Palm Treo moving to the Blackberry and then on to the Android platform. He and one of my other fraternity brothers Rob Christie (@ronx), who is a Senior Software Architect at GlaxoSmithKline, have been sharing a Google Doc with their “Must Have” Android Apps. They have agreed to let me share with you, so here ya go and enjoy!
ADW Launcher: Fantastic launcher replacement with tons of options to tweak and lots of great features. I still like LauncherPro Beta better (see below), but this one is a very close 2nd.
3Banana Notes: Great note taking app. Lets you create an account on their website for free so that your notes are synced automatically.
AppBrain App Market: Lets you install apps through a web interface! Review and select apps to install from the comfort of your PC, then use the app on your phone to sync your selections and easily install them to your device. I also use this as a way to back up the apps I have installed so I can easily reinstall them when I wipe and install a new ROM.
Assistant Free: Easy access to all your financial accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, etc.) and even your bills (phone, utility, etc.). I was skeptical about this one at first, but I’ve read some articles that proved their credibility. This is a great app.
Astrid: Task list. Syncs with RTM (rememberthemilk.com)
ASTRO: Nice file manager application. This also lets you install APK programs that you download to your SD card (the ones that aren’t available on the market)
Auto Ring: On my BlackBerry, I had a sound profile called “Ring Only” which would silence all alerts except for phone calls. I use my phone as an alarm next to the bed, so I want it quiet at night, but I still want to be able to get phone calls in case of emergencies. This app lets you set up a whitelist of whose calls should get through, and when to enable/disable.
AutoKiller: Automatically adjusts memory settings for best memory usage so your phone always performs well.
Chrome to Phone: Only for Froyo, this lets you click a button on your Firefox or Chrome toolbar to immediately send the link to your phone. Great for sending links to google maps directions to your phone for navigation.
Dropbox: My favorite free online cloud storage utility now has an Android app that lets you access your Dropbox from your phone! Check out http://getdropbox.com
Beautiful Widgets: Costs a buck or two, but gives some pretty nice home screen widgets. The big clock and weather display I have on my main screen is one of the widgets from this app.
FeedR: Great program for my RSS/news feeds
Google Voice: I don’t use Voice to make calls, nor do I give out my Voice number often, but the Visual Voicemail functionality is great.
Grocery iQ: Build new shopping lists quickly by saying the item name, scanning the barcode, or using predictive search.
Handcent SMS: Improved text messaging functionality
LauncherPro Beta: Absolutely the best launcher in existence! Multiple screens, multiple custom dockbars, VERY smooth 3D applauncher. DOWNLOAD THIS NOW!
Lightning Bug – Sleep Clock: Listen to thunderstorms, rain, beach sounds, etc., to help you sleep. Very configurable; excellent quality!
Maps: Find places in relation to where you are. Street view. Turn-by-turn GPS navigation!
Mint.com Personal Finance: Manage your personal finances in one place. Mint.com has gained tremendous popularity over the past few years as an intuitive, secure, central location to manage all of your accounts and get personalized reports and overviews. Now there’s an Android app that lets you do all of this on the go!
OpenSudoku: Gotta have my sudoku
Pure calendar widget: All sizes of widgets that give you a nice list view of meetings, events, etc. for the week. Also integrates with Astrid and/or GTasks.
Quick Settings: Quick access to all the essential settings (ringer, brightness, wifi, bluetooth, etc.) with an easy to use UI. You can select from many different settings to display on the main dialog, and can even add a shortcut to it in your notification bar.
Pandora: Best music streaming app I’ve tried.
ROM Manager: If you will be rooting your device and want an easy way to manage backups, load new ROMs, and interact with your Recovery module, you will NEED this.
Root Explorer: **Only for rooted devices** Best file manager for /system file manipulation. Very powerful.
SetCPU: **Only for rooted devices** De facto way to overclock your device after it’s rooted. You must install a new kernel (easy to do with ROM Manager) first. You can set up profiles to automatically adjust your cpu clock speeds if the battery gets too low or if your battery or cpu get too hot. Very configurable. Buy it through the market or download it for free on xda-developers.com.
ShopSavvy: Great for comparing prices by scanning UPC codes. It will search online as well as nearby stores (if you let it use GPS). This one has saved me from impulse buys quite a few times.
Swype: Awesome replacement on-screen keyboard that lets you trace the letters of a word with amazing accuracy. Because of this, I never use my slide out keyboard anymore! This app is currently in closed beta (not available to the public), but it should be available again soon. In the mean time, try ShapeWriter Keyboard. Same idea, and I’ve heard it’s almost as good as Swype. (or, just let me know and i’ll send you a copy that works without needing a beta account)
TempMonitor: Keep an eye on your battery or cpu temps by sticking it in the notification bar. Useful if you use SetCPU to overclock your device.
Terminal Emulator: **Only for rooted devices** Access the OS shell (command prompt) for all your h4x0r needs.
Titanium Backup: **Only for rooted devices** Essential for backing up all your apps and data to your SD card
Touiteur (premium): My preferred twitter client. I like the interface (and theme) better than any other client, and the developer is always updating it in the market.
USAA: I can check my balances with Assistant Free (a.k.a. Personal Assistant Free), but with this one, I can pay bills from my USAA checking account, transfer funds, and do other tasks that require a little more security.
XBMC Remote: If you have a HTPC and use XBMC, you will love this one.
AndChat: Nice free IRC client
Barcode Scanner: Good for scanning QR codes or any other type of barcode. I don’t use this anymore since ShopSavvy can scan QR codes for links now.
Caller ID Faker: App that uses BluffMyCall to let you spoof your caller ID. The free service only lets you make 2 minute calls, and requires you to listen to a brief ad before the call goes through, but it’s worth it for freaking out your friends.
Facebook for Android: Though I think the main interface is lacking, the contact picture sync is decent and it provides the ability to “share to facebook” for pictures and other things. If all you care about is synching pictures with your contacts, check out SyncMyPix (see below).
Gmail Notifier: Provides more customization options for your gmail notifications. I use this to customize the LED notification when I get new emails.
IMDb: App for looking up movies, showtimes, trailers, etc. I use the website all the time on my PC, so this should come in handy. Just recently released, so I haven’t had many chances to use it yet. Good chance this will move into my must have list once I start using it.
QuickDesk Beta: Lets you access your most used programs from anywhere, without having to minimize anything you’re working on.
SyncMyPix: I used to install Facebook for Android only for the feature that syncs facebook contact photos with my Contacts list on the phone, and it would still miss quite a few of my contacts. I just found this app yesterday and it works much better for what I want it to do. It does a great job matching up your facebook contacts with your google contacts, and after it syncs, it shows you the results. You can then manually match facebook contacts to the appropriate google contact for any that did not auto-match. One thing to note about this app, though. This app actually stores the Facebook photos in your Google Contacts, whereas Facebook for Android only matches the photos up so they display in your Contacts on your phone. If you don’t want people’s Facebook profile pics stored in your Google Contacts, don’t use this. I actually like this, though, because I have never bothered to manually set profile pics in Google Contacts. If none of this makes sense to you, chances are you’ll like this behavior too 😉
iheartradio: For general music streaming, I use Pandora. iheartradio doesn’t buffer nearly as well, and has some other glitches, but it’s the only app I’ve found that lets me listen to my local morning radio show when I’m not in the car.
Movies: App by Flixter that lets you easily find information on movies. Box office, just released on DVD, etc. I like this app for watching trailers. NOTE: I don’t keep this app installed on my phone anymore because I hardly ever used it. It’s still a good app and worth mentioning though. *Update: IMDb may end up replacing my need for this*
Poke A Mole: Fun “Whack a Mole” game
Scanner Radio: listen to live audio from over 2,200 police and fire scanners, railroad communications, and weather radio broadcasts from around the world. Very fun!
Shazam: I hardly ever use this app, but it’s really nice when I do want to use it. Identifies songs by listening to a few seconds.
SMS Backup: Backs up your text messages to your gmail account. Very nice — now I can search my texts via gmail. Will probably move this to my must have list pretty soon.
TripIt: If you use TripIt online, this is a must-have. Gives you quick access to your travel itineraries in an easy-to-read format. The TripIt service is pretty cool. You can email confirmations you receive from airlines/travel services/hotels to the tripit email address and it will automatically add all the info to your account.
Toss It: Very fun (and addicting) game of wastebasket hoops